[linux-audio-dev] New powermacs?

cliffw at easystreet.com cliffw at easystreet.com
Sat Jun 21 13:55:01 UTC 2003

> Hi all,
>[snip - mac news - ] 
> Please don't get me wrong. I am still in favor of Linux, obviously due
> to its open architecture. But at the same time I am becoming a bit weary
> of having to "hack" my advanced audio settings rather than use
> user-friendly tools. That, coupled with still anemic direct vendor hw
> driver support has really made me pay closer attention on Macs (as scary
> as that sounds). Yet, I feel such a sense of accomplishment when my
> Linux purrs just right with my desktop being uniquely configured and
> tailored to my needs. After all, I am a geek. :-) And the inner struggle
> goes on...
> Anyone care to comment or (please) dissuade me from potentially making a
> costly mistake? ;-)

Well, i'm messing with a used iBook G3/500 right at the moment. 
OS X does look nice, and the few OS X audio apps i demo'd are solid.

And, dual-booting w/Debian unstable was dead easy to do, i have OSS audio
working jest fine with the built-in set, and i'm hoping to do ALSA
via USB audio soon, which will be kewl.  

I like the hardware platform. The display is noticeably better than most 
Intel laptops, certainly better than the used ones i was comparing to. 
The Firewire Just Worked, right from the Debian install kernel.
 I've been using it with a IDE -> firewire disk carrier. 
The unit is solid. The built-in audio is okay, my model
has no real inputs (built-in mic) - you would definately be using USB or
firewire for Real Work. Using Open Firmware at boot instead of BIOS is
sweet. With Linux, performance is fine, even with the 500mhz chip.

The OS X on the other hand,  is noticeably slooower than Linux (2.4.21 + 
kernels ), especially at reboot. And the Mac world is insanely closed, 
it actually surprized _me how little choice you have with OS X - near as
i can figure, you buy most everything from Apple, pay a bunch more money
than a comparable M$ product, or suffer. 
And since they are _not a huge monopoly, they seem to have little shame 
about being closed - i was very amused by  the  way they attempt 
to corral the first-time user into signing up for .Mac (Apple's version of 
MSN) during the OS X install, iTunes also.

The main thing-that-makes-me-nutbar is the keyboard layout. That's 
fixable with X, and you can set up keymappings with sysctl for some 
Mac-specific things. Main installation pain is the Mac version of fdisk, 
which is....terse.

So in conclusion, i'd say the iBook + external converter (USB/fire) 
would make a fine Linux audio laptop. 
Get a decent sized disk, and you can dual-boot with OS X, and that
will motivate you to run Linux again.  :)

(PS - http://www.penguinppc.org - is a good start point for Mac links)

> Ivica Ico Bukvic, composer & multimedia sculptor
> http://meowing.ccm.uc.edu/~ico

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